13-8: Vegetarian Calzone

Much like Ben Wyatt, a late-addition character from NBC’s Parks and Recreation, I have enjoyed my fair share of calzones. Hawaiian calzones are one of my favorite types, pineapple and Canadian bacon can’t be beat! However, when wanting to eat in a health conscious manner, 13-8: Vegetarian Calzone is a great meat-free alternative.

Preparing this dish was super easy. A lot of time can be saved by using ready-bought puff pastry.

Editor’s note: This was a dish I made as part of a big family dinner I cooked with a family friend when I was 13–my step-grandmother is vegetarian and we made this so she’d have something to eat. My mom made her a baked potato for Thanksgiving once, complete with a toothpick-and-construction paper turkey head, wings, and tail that I painstakingly spent the day crafting. She did not appreciate the turkey-potato (too closely resembled an animal for her…go figure), but she did like this calzone. 

This card has seen some serious use over the years. Any card that features tomatoes tends to get a red stain on them at some point, especially if I’m the one cooking. I can get a bit messy. Jamie has taught me that good chefs work clean.

Editor’s note: I was 13…give me a break. I’ve learned to work cleaner in the 20 years since.

I made some alterations to the original recipe to add some flavor. My addition of Garam Masala and roasted garlic (in the tupperware container) gives the dish more flavor, inspired by the tastes of India. I also got out the Tzatziki for dipping the calzone because the yogurt and cucumber went well with the added spices and garlic.

There was so much chopping to do to prepare the mise en place for the calzone filling. Green onion, celery, and carrots are all cut into small shapes so they will cook evenly.

The roasted garlic was a special addition that I made since I had some recently thawed garlic available in the fridge.

This photo shows more of the alterations that I made. I added Garam Masala into the mixture of tomato paste, minced garlic, and canola oil. The Garam Masala made this dish taste more like a vegetable samosa than a calzone.

I rolled out the puff pastry and used a pizza cutter to divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and it’s time to add the stuffing and seal these calzones up.

I staged the stuffing materials and the rest of the puff pastry so I would be ready to get the calzones ready relatively quickly and into the oven at the same time. The peas are thawed, the egg wash is beaten, and the vegetables are soft.

Start with some peas on each calzone. I put some vegetables on the one in the corner before I remembered to take a photo, so you get a sneak preview of the next step.

Now all four have the vegetable mix on top and next I’ll pour on the flavor-adding tomato sauce.

As with most stuffed dishes I make, I overfilled these just slightly. The later calzones came out a little better.

I was able to make 8 stuffed calzones. I washed them with egg and put them on the baking sheets on top of silpats.

I remembered to take a photo when I flipped the pans in the oven at the halfway point.

A couple of the calzones burst in the oven, but overall, they held together nicely. Golden brown and delicious, these samosa flavored calzones really hit the spot! I was glad I made the changes I did. The spices really added flavor.

I served the calzo-sa (calzone + samosa) with some tzatziki. It acted as a nice palate cleanser for the spicy Garam Masala spices in the dish. The vegetables were tender and soft, perfectly cooked. The puff pastry came out perfectly.

Check out the golden brown and flaky crust. I feel bad that it was from a box and not made from scratch, but making pastry dough is really tough and time consuming. I had a lot of fun making this dish as well as eating it. I individually wrapped the leftovers and froze them for later. I pulled them out of the freezer individually whenever I was in the mood for a spicy Indian kick.

GRADE: A-

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